By Jesse Robitaille
A pair of First World War medal sets awarded to soldiers with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment (RNR) will kick off this October’s auction at the long-running Torex show in Toronto.
Offered as Lots 1 and 2, the sets “should be considered amongst some the scarcest and most sought-after Canadian issues,” according to auctioneer Marc Verret, of The Canadian Numismatic Company (TCNC), which will host the more than 2,400-lot sale on Oct. 25-30.
The RNR was the only North American unit to fight in the 1915-16 Gallipoli campaign and was also nearly eliminated at Beaumont Hamel during the first day of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916; however, the regiment was resurrected and continued to serve the Allied war effort until the armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918.
The auction’s first lot features a set of medals awarded to Private John Henry Simms. The set features a Military Medal; a memorial plaque; and the “Victory Trio,” which includes a 1914-15 Star, a 1914-20 British War Medal and a 1919 Victory Medal, all with a ribbon bar.
“Private Simms was part of the first 500 members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, and of this grouping, only 15 medals for bravery were ever issued,” said Verret, who added Simms’ #88 is the fourth-lowest number recorded for a Military Medal.
“In the complete history of the full Newfoundland regiment, there were only ever 108 Military Medals issued. We believe this to be the first time a quad set of RNR medals are put up for public sale.”
The lot is expected to bring upwards of $25,000.
Another “Victory Trio,” this awarded to Private A. Wells, will be offered as the sale’s second lot. Again, it includes a 1914-15 Star, a 1914-20 British War Medal and a 1919 Victory Medal, all with “somewhat ragged” ribbons. It’s expected to bring upwards of $10,000.
TWO COLLECTIONS PLUS 79 CONSIGNORS
While the five-session auction features a pair of collections – the Kingston Collection of Canadian Coins and the third part of the Paris Collection of Copper Coins – they are joined by selections from nearly 80 other consignors across North America.
“This fantastic October Torex Auction should make some spectacular moments and active evenings of auctioning,” said Verret, of the Québec-based auction house.
“We expect this to be one of the prestigious numismatic events of 2019, featuring several rarities never offered to the public.”
A 1924 $5 “Queen Mary” note described by auctioneers as “a gorgeous example” is among the top paper money highlights.
Offered as Lot 274, it’s certified as Gem Uncirculated-65 PPQ (premium paper quality) by Legacy Currency Grading (LGC), a new third-party paper money grading company led by Jason Bradford, who’s the former president Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) Currency.
“Among the best of the best, this is a pristine issue with superb eye-appeal, good margins and superb embossing,” said Verret, who added there’s an estimate of $45,000-$50,000.
Another early Canadian banknote, this an 1886 Union Bank of Halifax $5 note in Paper Money Guaranty (PMG) Fine-12, is offered as Lot 230A. It’s the second best-graded example known to exist, according to auctioneers, and has an estimate of $20,000-$25,000.
Moving on to Bank of Canada issues, Lot 304 offers a 1935 Series $1,000 note in Canadian Coin Certification Service Gem Uncirculated-65. With a serial number reading “#A12923,” this note has an estimate of $27,500-$30,000.
Another 1935 Series note, this a $25 denomination in PMG Uncirculated-64, is offered as Lot 298.
“It is brightly coloured,” said Verret, “and would fit easily into the most high-end type set of any advanced collectors.”
There’s a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$25,000.
Rounding out the paper money highlights is a complete Proof set of French 1935 Series notes offered as singles from Lot 306-312. Each of the seven notes has an estimate of $10,000-$15,000 except for the $1 note, which is expected to bring upwards of $7,500.
The second session will follow with selections from the Paris Collection, which “holds a premium selection of carefully chosen elusive large and small cents,” Verret said.
The coins from the Paris Collection are all graded by International Coin Certification Service (ICCS), and “each issue has been carefully selected and is attractive and proper for the grade attributed,” Verret added.
The three “jewels” of this collection, he said, are:
- Lot 551, an 1891 “Large Date, Large Leaf” cent in ICCS Mint State-65 Red, which is expected to bring upwards of $6,000;
- Lot 552, an 1892 “Obverse 3” cent in ICCS Mint State-65 Red, which has an estimate of $3,000-$4,000; and
- Lot 556, an 1896 cent ICCS Mint State-66 Red, which has an estimate of $3,000-$4,000.
Other highlights of session two include an original roll of Mint-State (MS) 1948 silver dollars to be offered as Lot 927. With 20 coins, each graded by ICCS, the lot features five pieces in MS-63; eight in MS-64; and seven in MS-65. Each coin is from the same original roll, according to auctioneers, and has “the same light yellow-gold tints as (when they were) purchased by the consignor a few years back.”
With a starting bid of $90,000, this lot has a pre-sale estimate of $175,000-$200,000.
Another top coinage highlight is Lot 819, an 1870 “No LCW” half-dollar in PCGS MS-63. Described by auctioneers as “excessively rare” in MS condition, this example is PCGS’s second best-graded example.
It’s expected to bring $125,000-$150,000.
A 1914 half-dollar in PCGS/ICCS MS-66 will also be offered as Lot 850. It’s PCGS’ highest-graded example, and with no examples certified higher than MS-65 by ICCS, it’s “should be considered as scarcer than the 1921 half-dollar for the grade,” Verret said.
It has an estimate of $90,000-$100,000.
Rounding out coinage is a 1921 half-dollar – the “King of Canadian Coins” – in PCGS Fine-15. Offered as Lot 851, it’s expected to bring $70,000-$80,000.
The first two sessions – to be held in Toronto – will take place Oct. 25-26 at 5:30 p.m. each day.
Sessions three through five will be held Oct. 28-30 in Québec but with no floor bidding.
Lot viewing will be available on Oct. 15-18 at TCNC’s Québec offices by appointment only as well as in Toronto on Oct. 25-26 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Lot pick-up will be available in Toronto on Oct. 26 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Oct. 26 from 10 a.m.-noon.
For more information about the upcoming auction, visit canadiancoinsandpapermoney.com.
Now in its 57th year, Torex will take over Toronto’s Hyatt Regency on King – located at 370 King St. W., in the heart of the city’s entertainment district – on Oct. 26-27.
More than 30 dealers from six provinces will be on the bourse of the two-day show, which opens at 10 a.m. before closing at 5 p.m. on Oct. 26 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 27. Daily admission is $7, but children aged 16 and under are free.
Continuing with tradition, this autumn’s show will include a daily raffle for a 2019 specimen set from the Royal Canadian Mint. The draws will be held Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. Entrants must also submit a completed Torex comment card in the raffle box at the show.
Also on Oct. 26 from 9 a.m.-noon, the Canadian Tire Coupon Collectors Club – a national club specializing in Canadian Tire money – will meet at Torex.
Held three times a year – in winter, summer and autumn – Torex has dates booked through 2025, with each show being held in late February, June or October.
For more information about Torex, visit torex.net.